Over the weekend, Mercer University hosted a student recruitment day, and included in the group of over 220 students were 44 high school juniors and seniors who were interested in coming to Mercer to be a part of the Center for Collaborative Journalism. I attended the luncheon for the students and their families, and Center Director Tim Regan-Porter (@timreganporter), Jon Hoban, VP for Radio at Georgia Public Broadcasting, Sherrie Marshall, Executive Editor of The Telegraph and I talked about our aspirations for the center.
What impressed me was that these students were attracted to Mercer because of the unique mission of the center - the medical school model of journalism education and the opportunity to work aside seasoned journalists in a shared newsroom to transform this community through information exchange.
The center is a bold experiment, in reporting the news, in telling the stories of our community and in shared learning. Students will learn from seasoned journalists, and the journalists from the students about gathering information and reporting it in the digital age.
After being with these bright young people who want not only to learn how to be great journalists in the 21st century, but how to make a difference in their communities, I believe more than ever that quality journalism, delivered on all platforms, continues to be the foundation of our democracy and critical to building strong communities. People require accurate, timely and actionable information to make informed decisions to build vibrant communities and a strong democracy.
Journalism will always be key to what makes this country great- the free exchange of information, the responsibility to question, the power of telling the stories that impact us every day. Although the delivery platforms will change, the need for the ability to check the facts, report on the news and take the pulse of the people will never change.
Great journalism is enduring. Our responsibility is to make sure great journalism is impactful in the digital world in which we live. The Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University will do just that. I think Jack and Jim Knight would be pleased.
By Beverly Blake, program director/Macon at Knight Foundation